Avanti 390123 at Manchester Piccadilly

UK: Caroline Donaldson is to retire as Managing Director of West Coast Partnership Development at the end of March, FirstGroup announced on November 25. WCPD is the ‘shadow operator’ for High Speed 2, providing HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport with design and development services to support planning for future operations.

Donaldson joined the rail industry 22 years ago. She has held various roles at Network Rail, leading transformation programmes and implementing a risk management system, and worked at London Underground before joining First Rail in 2010 where she steered FirstGroup and Trenitalia’s joint bid for the West Coast Partnership contract before being appointed as Managing Director of WCPD in December 2019.

She will continue to provide strategic support and expertise to the First Rail leadership team on a part-time basis.

‘Under Caroline’s leadership, West Coast Partnership Development has delivered robust performance while designing, developing and mobilising high speed service operations and associated conventional services as the shadow operator for High Speed 2’, said First Rail Managing Director Steve Montgomery. ‘Caroline leaves West Coast Partnership in a healthy position as discussions continue with the DfT in respect of a new directly awarded National Rail Contract.’

An announcement regarding a successor would be made ’in due course’.